TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. recalled 340,000 gas-electric hybrid Prius cars around the world Wednesday, 212,000 of them in Japan and 94,000 in North America, for a defect in their parking brakes.

Toyota acknowledged receiving reports of crashes, injuries and deaths. The Japanese automaker refused to provide details, saying it was still looking into the reports.

Toyota said the parking brake cable can disengage unexpectedly, causing the brakes to stop working properly. So if the car is left in any gear other than park, it could start rolling away, and possibly crash.

Toyota said 17,000 Prius vehicles were recalled in Europe, and the rest in Australia and other regions. The problem models were manufactured from August 2015 through October 2016.

The company said all the vehicles were manufactured at its Tsutsumi plant in Toyota city, Japan, the company’s headquarters, one of a handful of plants around the world that make the Prius.